Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders, 73400-73403 [2014-28953]

Download as PDF 73400 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 237 / Wednesday, December 10, 2014 / Notices Submitting Comments DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this notice, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your document so the Agency can contact you if it has questions regarding your submission. To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and put the docket number FMCSA–2014–0299 in the ‘‘Keyword’’ box, and click ‘‘Search. When the new screen appears, click on ‘‘Comment Now!’’ button and type your comment into the text box in the following screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf of a third party and then submit. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81⁄2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, selfaddressed postcard or envelope. FMCSA will consider all comments and material received during the comment period and may change this notice based on your comments. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Viewing Comments and Documents To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number FMCSA–2014–0299 in the ‘‘Keyword’’ box and click ‘‘Search.’’ Next, click ‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ button and choose the document listed to review. If you do not have access to the Internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Issued on: December 1, 2014. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2014–28959 Filed 12–9–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:48 Dec 09, 2014 Jkt 235001 [Docket No. FMCSA–2013–0444] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition. AGENCY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant requests from 10 individuals for exemptions from the regulatory requirement that interstate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers have ‘‘no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other condition which is likely to cause loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to control a CMV.’’ The regulation and the associated advisory criteria published in the Code of Federal Regulations as the ‘‘Instructions for Performing and Recording Physical Examinations’’ have resulted in numerous drivers being prohibited from operating CMVs in interstate commerce based on the fact that they have had one or more seizures and are taking antiseizure medication, rather than an individual analysis of their circumstances by a qualified medical examiner. The Agency concluded that granting exemptions for these CMV drivers will provide a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety maintained without the exemptions. FMCSA grants exemptions that will allow these 10 individuals to operate CMVs in interstate commerce for a 2-year period. The exemptions preempt State laws and regulations and may be renewed. DATES: The exemptions are effective December 10, 2014. The exemptions expire on December 12, 2016. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elaine M. Papp, Division Chief, Physical Qualifications, Office of Medical Programs, (202) 366–4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W64– 224, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: A. Electronic Access You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document Management System (FDMS) at: http:// www.regulations.gov. PO 00000 Frm 00124 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to http:// www.regulations.gov and/or Room W12–140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL–14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy. B. Background Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption from the safety regulations for a 2-year period if it finds ‘‘such exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.’’ The statute also allows the Agency to renew exemptions at the end of the 2-year period. FMCSA grants 10 individuals an exemption from the regulatory requirement in § 391.41(b)(8), to allow these individuals who take anti-seizure medication to operate CMVs in interstate commerce for a 2-year period. The Agency’s decision on these exemption applications is based on an individualized assessment of each applicant’s medical information, including the root cause of the respective seizure(s), the length of time elapsed since the individual’s last seizure, and each individual’s treatment regimen. In addition, the Agency reviewed each applicant’s driving record found in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) 1 for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders, and interstate and intrastate inspections recorded in Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).2 For non-CDL holders, the Agency reviewed the driving records from the State licensing agency. The 1 Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) is an information system that allows the exchange of commercial driver licensing information among all the States. CDLIS includes the databases of fifty-one licensing jurisdictions and the CDLIS Central Site, all connected by a telecommunications network. 2 Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) is an information system that captures data from field offices through SAFETYNET, CAPRI, and other sources. It is a source for FMCSA inspection, crash, compliance review, safety audit, and registration data. E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 237 / Wednesday, December 10, 2014 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Agency acknowledges the potential consequences of a driver experiencing a seizure while operating a CMV. However, the Agency believes the drivers covered by the exemptions granted here have demonstrated that they are unlikely to have a seizure and their medical condition does not pose a risk to public safety. In reaching the decision to grant these exemption requests, the Agency considered both current medical literature and information and the 2007 recommendations of the Agency’s Medical Expert Panel (MEP). The Agency previously gathered evidence for potential changes to the regulation at 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) by conducting a comprehensive review of scientific literature that was compiled into the ‘‘Evidence Report on Seizure Disorders and Commercial Vehicle Driving’’ (Evidence Report) [CD–ROM HD TL230.3 .E95 2007]. The Agency then convened a panel of medical experts in the field of neurology (the MEP) on May 14–15, 2007, to review 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) and the advisory criteria regarding individuals who have experienced a seizure, and the 2007 Evidence Report. The Evidence Report and the MEP recommendations are published on-line at http:// www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/ topics/mep/mep-reports.htm, under Seizure Disorders, and are in the docket for this notice. MEP Criteria for Evaluation On October 15, 2007, the MEP issued the following recommended criteria for evaluating whether an individual with epilepsy or a seizure disorder should be allowed to operate a CMV.3 The MEP recommendations are included in previously published dockets. Epilepsy diagnosis. If there is an epilepsy diagnosis, the applicant should be seizure-free for 8 years, on or off medication. If the individual is taking anti-seizure medication(s), the plan for medication should be stable for 2 years. Stable means no changes in medication, dosage, or frequency of medication administration. Recertification for drivers with an epilepsy diagnosis should be performed every year. Single unprovoked seizure. If there is a single unprovoked seizure (i.e., there is no known trigger for the seizure), the individual should be seizure-free for 4 years, on or off medication. If the individual is taking anti-seizure medication(s), the plan for medication 3 Engel, J., Fisher, R.S., Krauss, G.L., Krumholz, A., and Quigg, M.S., ‘‘Expert Panel Recommendations: Seizure Disorders and Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Safety,’’ FMCSA, October 15, 2007. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:48 Dec 09, 2014 Jkt 235001 should be stable for 2 years. Stable means no changes in medication, dosage, or frequency of medication administration. Recertification for drivers with a single unprovoked seizure should be performed every 2 years. Single provoked seizure. If there is a single provoked seizure (i.e., there is a known reason for the seizure), the Agency should consider specific criteria that fall into the following two categories: Low-risk factors for recurrence and moderate-to-high risk factors for recurrence. • Examples of low-risk factors for recurrence include seizures that were caused by a medication; by nonpenetrating head injury with loss of consciousness less than or equal to 30 minutes; by a brief loss of consciousness not likely to recur while driving; by metabolic derangement not likely to recur; and by alcohol or illicit drug withdrawal. • Examples of moderate-to-high-risk factors for recurrence include seizures caused by non-penetrating head injury with loss of consciousness or amnesia greater than 30 minutes, or penetrating head injury; intracerebral hemorrhage associated with a stroke or trauma; infections; intracranial hemorrhage; post-operative complications from brain surgery with significant brain hemorrhage; brain tumor; or stroke. The MEP report indicates individuals with moderate to high-risk conditions should not be certified. Drivers with a history of a single provoked seizure with low risk factors for recurrence should be recertified every year. Medical Review Board Recommendations and Agency Decision FMCSA presented the MEP’s findings and the Evidence Report to the Medical Review Board (MRB) for consideration. The MRB reviewed and considered the 2007 ‘‘Seizure Disorders and Commercial Driver Safety’’ evidence report and the 2007 MEP recommendations. The MRB recommended maintaining the current advisory criteria, which provide that ‘‘drivers with a history of epilepsy/ seizures off anti-seizure medication and seizure-free for 10 years may be qualified to drive a CMV in interstate commerce. Interstate drivers with a history of a single unprovoked seizure may be qualified to drive a CMV in interstate commerce if seizure-free and off anti-seizure medication for a 5 year period or more’’ [Advisory criteria to 49 CFR 391.43(f)]. The Agency acknowledges the MRB’s position on the issue but believes relevant current medical evidence PO 00000 Frm 00125 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 73401 supports a less conservative approach. The medical advisory criteria for epilepsy and other seizure or loss of consciousness episodes was based on the 1988 ‘‘Conference on Neurological Disorders and Commercial Drivers’’ (NITS Accession No. PB89–158950/AS). A copy of the report can be found in the docket referenced in this notice. The MRB’s recommendation treats all drivers who have experienced a seizure the same, regardless of individual medical conditions and circumstances. In addition, the recommendation to continue prohibiting drivers who are taking anti-seizure medication from operating a CMV in interstate commerce does not consider a driver’s actual seizure history and time since the last seizure. The Agency has decided to use the 2007 MEP recommendations as the basis for evaluating applications for an exemption from the seizure regulation on an individual, case-by-case basis. C. Exemptions Following individualized assessments of the exemption applications, including a review of detailed follow-up information requested from each applicant, FMCSA is granting exemptions from 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) to 10 individuals. Under current FMCSA regulations, all of the 10 drivers receiving exemptions from 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) would have been considered physically qualified to drive a CMV in interstate commerce except that they presently take or have recently stopped taking anti-seizure medication. For these 10 drivers, the primary obstacle to medical qualification was the FMCSA Advisory Criteria for Medical Examiners, based on the 1988 ‘‘Conference on Neurological Disorders and Commercial Drivers,’’ stating that a driver should be off anti-seizure medication in order to drive in interstate commerce. In fact, the Advisory Criteria have little if anything to do with the actual risk of a seizure and more to do with assumptions about individuals who are taking anti-seizure medication. In addition to evaluating the medical status of each applicant, FMCSA evaluated the crash and violation data for the 10 drivers, some of whom currently drive a CMV in intrastate commerce. The CDLIS and MCMIS were searched for crash and violation data on the 10 applicants. For non-CDL holders, the Agency reviewed the driving records from the State licensing agency. These exemptions are contingent on the driver maintaining a stable treatment regimen and remaining seizure-free during the 2-year exemption period. The exempted drivers must E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 73402 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 237 / Wednesday, December 10, 2014 / Notices submit annual reports from their treating physicians attesting to the stability of treatment and that the driver has remained seizure-free. The driver must undergo an annual medical examination by a medical examiner, as defined by 49 CFR 390.5, following the FCMSA’s regulations for the physical qualifications for CMV drivers. FMCSA published a notice of receipt of application and requested public comment during a 30-day public comment period in a Federal Register notice for each of the applicants. A short summary of the applicants’ qualifications and a discussion of the comments received follows this section. For applicants who were denied an exemption, a notice will be published at a later date. D. Comments Docket #FMCSA–2013–0444 On May 13, 2014, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of exemption applications and requested public comment on 13 individuals (79 FR 27367; Docket number FMCSA–2014– 10982). The comment period ended on June 12, 2014. No commenters responded to this Federal Register notice. Of the 13 applicants, three were denied. The Agency has determined that the following 10 applicants should be granted an exemption. Travis Arend Mr. Arend is a 41 year-old driver in Virginia. He has a history of seizure and has remained seizure free for 8 years. He does not take anti-seizure medication. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Arend receiving an exemption. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Heath Crowe Mr. Crowe is a 36 year-old driver in Louisiana. He has a history of epilepsy and has remained seizure free since 1998. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since that time. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Crowe receiving an exemption. Richard Degnan Mr. Degnan is a 46 year-old driver in Arizona. He has a history of seizure disorder and has remained seizure free since 2004. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for over 2 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Degnan receiving an exemption. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:48 Dec 09, 2014 Jkt 235001 Peter Della Rocco Mr. Della Rocco is a 47 year-old class B CDL holder in Pennsylvania. He has a history of seizure and has remained seizure free since 1992. He takes antiseizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for over 3 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Della Rocco receiving an exemption. Edward Jacobs Mr. Jacobs is a 45 year-old driver in Virginia. He has a history of seizure disorder and has remained seizure free since 2002. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for over 2 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Jacobs receiving an exemption. Domenick Panfile Mr. Panfile is a 55 year-old class B CDL holder in New Jersey. He has a history of seizure and has remained seizure free since 1982. He takes antiseizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for over 20 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Panfile receiving an exemption. Scott Reaves Mr. Reaves is a 50 year-old driver in Texas. He has a history of seizure disorder and has remained seizure free since 2002. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for over 10 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Reaves receiving an exemption. Milton Tatham Mr. Tatham is a 55 year old class A CDL holder in Nevada. He has a history of seizure disorder and has remained seizure free since 1994. He takes antiseizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for over 2 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Tatham receiving an exemption. Thomas Tincher Mr. Tincher is a 48 year-old driver in North Carolina. He has a history of seizure and has remained seizure free for over 4 years. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same for over 3 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His PO 00000 Frm 00126 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Tincher receiving an exemption. Duane Troff Mr. Troff is a 52 year-old class A CDL holder in Minnesota. He has a history of seizure and has remained seizure free for 7 years. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same since that time. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Troff receiving an exemption. E. Basis for Exemption Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption from the epilepsy/seizure standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) if the exemption is likely to achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety than would be achieved without the exemption. Without the exemption, applicants will continue to be restricted to intrastate driving. With the exemption, applicants can drive in interstate commerce. Thus, the Agency’s analysis focuses on whether an equal or greater level of safety is likely to be achieved by permitting each of these drivers to drive in interstate commerce as opposed to restricting the driver to driving in intrastate commerce. Conclusion The Agency is granting exemptions from the epilepsy standard, 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8), to 10 individuals based on a thorough evaluation of each driver’s safety experience, and medical condition. Safety analysis of information relating to these 10 applicants meets the burden of showing that granting the exemptions would achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved without the exemption. By granting the exemptions, the interstate CMV industry will gain 10 highly trained and experienced drivers. In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(1), each exemption will be valid for 2 years, with annual recertification required unless revoked earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be revoked if the following occurs: (1) The person fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was maintained prior to being granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315. FMCSA exempts the following 10 drivers for a period of 2 years with annual medical certification required: Travis Arend (VA); Heath Crowe (LA); E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 237 / Wednesday, December 10, 2014 / Notices Richard Degnan (AZ); Peter Della Rocco (PA); Edward Jacobs (VA); Domenick Panfile (NJ); Scott Reaves (TX); Milton Tatham (NV); Thomas Tincher (NC); and Duane Troff (MN) from the prohibition of CMV operations by persons with a clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or seizures. If the exemption is still in effect at the end of the 2-year period, the person may apply to FMCSA for a renewal under procedures in effect at that time. Issued on: December 1, 2014. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2014–28953 Filed 12–9–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Departmental Offices (DO) Surface Transportation Board Release of Waybill Data The Surface Transportation Board has received a request from the Association of American Railroads (WB463–17—11/ 21/14) for permission to use certain data from the Board’s 2012–2013 Carload Waybill Sample. A copy of this request may be obtained from the Office of Economics. The waybill sample contains confidential railroad and shipper data; therefore, if any parties object to these requests, they should file their objections with the Director of the Board’s Office of Economics within 14 calendar days of the date of this notice. The rules for release of waybill data are codified at 49 CFR 1244.9. Contact: Alexander Dusenberry, (202) 245–0319. Jeffrey Herzig, Clearance Clerk. [FR Doc. 2014–28931 Filed 12–9–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4915–01–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES December 5, 2014. The Department of the Treasury will submit the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13, on or after the date of publication of this notice. DATES: Comments should be received on or before January 9, 2015 to be assured of consideration. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:48 Dec 09, 2014 Jkt 235001 Send comments regarding the burden estimate, or any other aspect of the information collection, including suggestion for reducing the burden, to (1) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for Treasury, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503, or email at OIRA_Submission@ OMB.EOP.GOV and (2) Treasury PRA Clearance Officer, 1750 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Suite 8140, Washington, DC 20220, or email at PRA@treasury.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 927–5331, email at PRA@treasury.gov, or the entire information collection request may be found at www.reginfo.gov. ADDRESSES: OMB Number: 1505–0246. Type of Review: Reinstatement. Title: Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) Survey. Abstract: Established by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (the Act) (Pub. L. 111–240), the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) is a dedicated fund designed to provide capital to qualified community banks and community development loan funds (CDLFs) in order to encourage small business lending. The purpose of the SBLF is to encourage Main Street banks and small businesses to work together, help create jobs, and promote economic growth in communities across the nation. In order to receive capital from the SBLF, institutions were required to enter into a Securities Purchase Agreement with Treasury. Under Section 3.1(c)(ii)(D) of the Securities Purchase Agreement, institutions participating in the SBLF are required to complete an annual survey providing a description of, among other things, how the institutions have utilized the SBLF funds and how the funds have impacted the operations and status of the institutions. As such, Treasury is seeking responses from institutions participating in the SBLF regarding the institutions’ small business lending policies and practices, use of SBLF funding, and efforts to engage in outreach activities with respect to small business lending. Affected Public: Businesses and other for-profit institutions, and non-profit institutions. Estimated Total Burden Hours: 2,224. Robert Dahl, Treasury PRA Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2014–28963 Filed 12–9–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–25–P PO 00000 Frm 00127 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 73403 DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Joint Committee Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury. ACTION: Notice of meeting. AGENCY: An open meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Joint Committee will be conducted. The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel is soliciting public comments, ideas, and suggestions on improving customer service at the Internal Revenue Service. DATES: The meeting will be held Wednesday, January 28, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Billups at 1–888–912–1227 or (214) 413–6523. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice is hereby given pursuant to Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App. (1988) that an open meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Joint Committee will be held Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time via teleconference. The public is invited to make oral comments or submit written statements for consideration. For more information please contact Ms. Billups at 1–888–912–1227 or 214–413–6523, or write TAP Office 1114 Commerce Street, Dallas, TX 75242–1021, or post comments to the Web site: http:// www.improveirs.org. The agenda will include various committee issues for submission to the IRS and other TAP related topics. Public input is welcomed. SUMMARY: Dated: December 3, 2014. Otis Simpson, Acting Director, Taxpayer Advocacy Panel. [FR Doc. 2014–28854 Filed 12–9–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830–01–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Special Projects Committee Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury. ACTION: Notice of meeting. AGENCY: An open meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Special Projects Committee will be conducted. The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel is soliciting public comments, ideas, and suggestions on improving customer service at the Internal Revenue Service. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 237 (Wednesday, December 10, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 73400-73403]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-28953]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0444]


Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Epilepsy and 
Seizure Disorders

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of final disposition.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant requests from 10 
individuals for exemptions from the regulatory requirement that 
interstate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers have ``no established 
medical history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other 
condition which is likely to cause loss of consciousness or any loss of 
ability to control a CMV.'' The regulation and the associated advisory 
criteria published in the Code of Federal Regulations as the 
``Instructions for Performing and Recording Physical Examinations'' 
have resulted in numerous drivers being prohibited from operating CMVs 
in interstate commerce based on the fact that they have had one or more 
seizures and are taking anti-seizure medication, rather than an 
individual analysis of their circumstances by a qualified medical 
examiner. The Agency concluded that granting exemptions for these CMV 
drivers will provide a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater 
than the level of safety maintained without the exemptions. FMCSA 
grants exemptions that will allow these 10 individuals to operate CMVs 
in interstate commerce for a 2-year period. The exemptions preempt 
State laws and regulations and may be renewed.

DATES: The exemptions are effective December 10, 2014. The exemptions 
expire on December 12, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elaine M. Papp, Division Chief, 
Physical Qualifications, Office of Medical Programs, (202) 366-4001, 
fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, Department of Transportation, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Room W64-224, Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office 
hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Electronic Access

    You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document 
Management System (FDMS) at: http://www.regulations.gov.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov and/or Room W12-140 on the 
ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits 
comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT 
posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information 
the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the 
system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
www.dot.gov/privacy.

B. Background

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the safety regulations for a 2-year period if it finds ``such 
exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to 
or greater than the level that would be achieved absent such 
exemption.'' The statute also allows the Agency to renew exemptions at 
the end of the 2-year period.
    FMCSA grants 10 individuals an exemption from the regulatory 
requirement in Sec.  391.41(b)(8), to allow these individuals who take 
anti-seizure medication to operate CMVs in interstate commerce for a 2-
year period. The Agency's decision on these exemption applications is 
based on an individualized assessment of each applicant's medical 
information, including the root cause of the respective seizure(s), the 
length of time elapsed since the individual's last seizure, and each 
individual's treatment regimen. In addition, the Agency reviewed each 
applicant's driving record found in the Commercial Driver's License 
Information System (CDLIS) \1\ for commercial driver's license (CDL) 
holders, and interstate and intrastate inspections recorded in Motor 
Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).\2\ For non-CDL holders, 
the Agency reviewed the driving records from the State licensing 
agency. The

[[Page 73401]]

Agency acknowledges the potential consequences of a driver experiencing 
a seizure while operating a CMV. However, the Agency believes the 
drivers covered by the exemptions granted here have demonstrated that 
they are unlikely to have a seizure and their medical condition does 
not pose a risk to public safety.
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    \1\ Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) is an 
information system that allows the exchange of commercial driver 
licensing information among all the States. CDLIS includes the 
databases of fifty-one licensing jurisdictions and the CDLIS Central 
Site, all connected by a telecommunications network.
    \2\ Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) is an 
information system that captures data from field offices through 
SAFETYNET, CAPRI, and other sources. It is a source for FMCSA 
inspection, crash, compliance review, safety audit, and registration 
data.
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    In reaching the decision to grant these exemption requests, the 
Agency considered both current medical literature and information and 
the 2007 recommendations of the Agency's Medical Expert Panel (MEP). 
The Agency previously gathered evidence for potential changes to the 
regulation at 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) by conducting a comprehensive review 
of scientific literature that was compiled into the ``Evidence Report 
on Seizure Disorders and Commercial Vehicle Driving'' (Evidence Report) 
[CD-ROM HD TL230.3 .E95 2007]. The Agency then convened a panel of 
medical experts in the field of neurology (the MEP) on May 14-15, 2007, 
to review 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) and the advisory criteria regarding 
individuals who have experienced a seizure, and the 2007 Evidence 
Report. The Evidence Report and the MEP recommendations are published 
on-line at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/mep/mep-reports.htm, under Seizure Disorders, and are in the docket for this 
notice.

MEP Criteria for Evaluation

    On October 15, 2007, the MEP issued the following recommended 
criteria for evaluating whether an individual with epilepsy or a 
seizure disorder should be allowed to operate a CMV.\3\ The MEP 
recommendations are included in previously published dockets.
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    \3\ Engel, J., Fisher, R.S., Krauss, G.L., Krumholz, A., and 
Quigg, M.S., ``Expert Panel Recommendations: Seizure Disorders and 
Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Safety,'' FMCSA, October 15, 2007.
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    Epilepsy diagnosis. If there is an epilepsy diagnosis, the 
applicant should be seizure-free for 8 years, on or off medication. If 
the individual is taking anti-seizure medication(s), the plan for 
medication should be stable for 2 years. Stable means no changes in 
medication, dosage, or frequency of medication administration. 
Recertification for drivers with an epilepsy diagnosis should be 
performed every year.
    Single unprovoked seizure. If there is a single unprovoked seizure 
(i.e., there is no known trigger for the seizure), the individual 
should be seizure-free for 4 years, on or off medication. If the 
individual is taking anti-seizure medication(s), the plan for 
medication should be stable for 2 years. Stable means no changes in 
medication, dosage, or frequency of medication administration. 
Recertification for drivers with a single unprovoked seizure should be 
performed every 2 years.
    Single provoked seizure. If there is a single provoked seizure 
(i.e., there is a known reason for the seizure), the Agency should 
consider specific criteria that fall into the following two categories: 
Low-risk factors for recurrence and moderate-to-high risk factors for 
recurrence.
     Examples of low-risk factors for recurrence include 
seizures that were caused by a medication; by non-penetrating head 
injury with loss of consciousness less than or equal to 30 minutes; by 
a brief loss of consciousness not likely to recur while driving; by 
metabolic derangement not likely to recur; and by alcohol or illicit 
drug withdrawal.
     Examples of moderate-to-high-risk factors for recurrence 
include seizures caused by non-penetrating head injury with loss of 
consciousness or amnesia greater than 30 minutes, or penetrating head 
injury; intracerebral hemorrhage associated with a stroke or trauma; 
infections; intracranial hemorrhage; post-operative complications from 
brain surgery with significant brain hemorrhage; brain tumor; or 
stroke.

The MEP report indicates individuals with moderate to high-risk 
conditions should not be certified. Drivers with a history of a single 
provoked seizure with low risk factors for recurrence should be 
recertified every year.

Medical Review Board Recommendations and Agency Decision

    FMCSA presented the MEP's findings and the Evidence Report to the 
Medical Review Board (MRB) for consideration. The MRB reviewed and 
considered the 2007 ``Seizure Disorders and Commercial Driver Safety'' 
evidence report and the 2007 MEP recommendations. The MRB recommended 
maintaining the current advisory criteria, which provide that ``drivers 
with a history of epilepsy/seizures off anti-seizure medication and 
seizure-free for 10 years may be qualified to drive a CMV in interstate 
commerce. Interstate drivers with a history of a single unprovoked 
seizure may be qualified to drive a CMV in interstate commerce if 
seizure-free and off anti-seizure medication for a 5 year period or 
more'' [Advisory criteria to 49 CFR 391.43(f)].
    The Agency acknowledges the MRB's position on the issue but 
believes relevant current medical evidence supports a less conservative 
approach. The medical advisory criteria for epilepsy and other seizure 
or loss of consciousness episodes was based on the 1988 ``Conference on 
Neurological Disorders and Commercial Drivers'' (NITS Accession No. 
PB89-158950/AS). A copy of the report can be found in the docket 
referenced in this notice.
    The MRB's recommendation treats all drivers who have experienced a 
seizure the same, regardless of individual medical conditions and 
circumstances. In addition, the recommendation to continue prohibiting 
drivers who are taking anti-seizure medication from operating a CMV in 
interstate commerce does not consider a driver's actual seizure history 
and time since the last seizure. The Agency has decided to use the 2007 
MEP recommendations as the basis for evaluating applications for an 
exemption from the seizure regulation on an individual, case-by-case 
basis.

C. Exemptions

    Following individualized assessments of the exemption applications, 
including a review of detailed follow-up information requested from 
each applicant, FMCSA is granting exemptions from 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) 
to 10 individuals. Under current FMCSA regulations, all of the 10 
drivers receiving exemptions from 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) would have been 
considered physically qualified to drive a CMV in interstate commerce 
except that they presently take or have recently stopped taking anti-
seizure medication. For these 10 drivers, the primary obstacle to 
medical qualification was the FMCSA Advisory Criteria for Medical 
Examiners, based on the 1988 ``Conference on Neurological Disorders and 
Commercial Drivers,'' stating that a driver should be off anti-seizure 
medication in order to drive in interstate commerce. In fact, the 
Advisory Criteria have little if anything to do with the actual risk of 
a seizure and more to do with assumptions about individuals who are 
taking anti-seizure medication.
    In addition to evaluating the medical status of each applicant, 
FMCSA evaluated the crash and violation data for the 10 drivers, some 
of whom currently drive a CMV in intrastate commerce. The CDLIS and 
MCMIS were searched for crash and violation data on the 10 applicants. 
For non-CDL holders, the Agency reviewed the driving records from the 
State licensing agency.
    These exemptions are contingent on the driver maintaining a stable 
treatment regimen and remaining seizure-free during the 2-year 
exemption period. The exempted drivers must

[[Page 73402]]

submit annual reports from their treating physicians attesting to the 
stability of treatment and that the driver has remained seizure-free. 
The driver must undergo an annual medical examination by a medical 
examiner, as defined by 49 CFR 390.5, following the FCMSA's regulations 
for the physical qualifications for CMV drivers.
    FMCSA published a notice of receipt of application and requested 
public comment during a 30-day public comment period in a Federal 
Register notice for each of the applicants. A short summary of the 
applicants' qualifications and a discussion of the comments received 
follows this section. For applicants who were denied an exemption, a 
notice will be published at a later date.

D. Comments

Docket #FMCSA-2013-0444

    On May 13, 2014, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of exemption 
applications and requested public comment on 13 individuals (79 FR 
27367; Docket number FMCSA-2014-10982). The comment period ended on 
June 12, 2014. No commenters responded to this Federal Register notice. 
Of the 13 applicants, three were denied. The Agency has determined that 
the following 10 applicants should be granted an exemption.
Travis Arend
    Mr. Arend is a 41 year-old driver in Virginia. He has a history of 
seizure and has remained seizure free for 8 years. He does not take 
anti-seizure medication. If granted the exemption, he would like to 
drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Arend 
receiving an exemption.
Heath Crowe
    Mr. Crowe is a 36 year-old driver in Louisiana. He has a history of 
epilepsy and has remained seizure free since 1998. He takes anti-
seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the same 
since that time. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive a 
CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Crowe receiving 
an exemption.
Richard Degnan
    Mr. Degnan is a 46 year-old driver in Arizona. He has a history of 
seizure disorder and has remained seizure free since 2004. He takes 
anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the 
same for over 2 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive 
a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Degnan 
receiving an exemption.
Peter Della Rocco
    Mr. Della Rocco is a 47 year-old class B CDL holder in 
Pennsylvania. He has a history of seizure and has remained seizure free 
since 1992. He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and 
frequency remaining the same for over 3 years. If granted the 
exemption, he would like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he 
is supportive of Mr. Della Rocco receiving an exemption.
Edward Jacobs
    Mr. Jacobs is a 45 year-old driver in Virginia. He has a history of 
seizure disorder and has remained seizure free since 2002. He takes 
anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the 
same for over 2 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to drive 
a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Jacobs 
receiving an exemption.
Domenick Panfile
    Mr. Panfile is a 55 year-old class B CDL holder in New Jersey. He 
has a history of seizure and has remained seizure free since 1982. He 
takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining 
the same for over 20 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to 
drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Panfile 
receiving an exemption.
Scott Reaves
    Mr. Reaves is a 50 year-old driver in Texas. He has a history of 
seizure disorder and has remained seizure free since 2002. He takes 
anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining the 
same for over 10 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to 
drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Reaves 
receiving an exemption.
Milton Tatham
    Mr. Tatham is a 55 year old class A CDL holder in Nevada. He has a 
history of seizure disorder and has remained seizure free since 1994. 
He takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency 
remaining the same for over 2 years. If granted the exemption, he would 
like to drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. 
Tatham receiving an exemption.
Thomas Tincher
    Mr. Tincher is a 48 year-old driver in North Carolina. He has a 
history of seizure and has remained seizure free for over 4 years. He 
takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining 
the same for over 3 years. If granted the exemption, he would like to 
drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Tincher 
receiving an exemption.
Duane Troff
    Mr. Troff is a 52 year-old class A CDL holder in Minnesota. He has 
a history of seizure and has remained seizure free for 7 years. He 
takes anti-seizure medication with the dosage and frequency remaining 
the same since that time. If granted the exemption, he would like to 
drive a CMV. His physician states that he is supportive of Mr. Troff 
receiving an exemption.

E. Basis for Exemption

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the epilepsy/seizure standard in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(8) if the 
exemption is likely to achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety 
than would be achieved without the exemption. Without the exemption, 
applicants will continue to be restricted to intrastate driving. With 
the exemption, applicants can drive in interstate commerce. Thus, the 
Agency's analysis focuses on whether an equal or greater level of 
safety is likely to be achieved by permitting each of these drivers to 
drive in interstate commerce as opposed to restricting the driver to 
driving in intrastate commerce.

Conclusion

    The Agency is granting exemptions from the epilepsy standard, 49 
CFR 391.41(b)(8), to 10 individuals based on a thorough evaluation of 
each driver's safety experience, and medical condition. Safety analysis 
of information relating to these 10 applicants meets the burden of 
showing that granting the exemptions would achieve a level of safety 
that is equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved 
without the exemption. By granting the exemptions, the interstate CMV 
industry will gain 10 highly trained and experienced drivers. In 
accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(b)(1), each exemption will be valid for 
2 years, with annual recertification required unless revoked earlier by 
FMCSA. The exemption will be revoked if the following occurs: (1) The 
person fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; 
(2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was 
maintained prior to being granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption 
would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 
31136 and 31315.
    FMCSA exempts the following 10 drivers for a period of 2 years with 
annual medical certification required: Travis Arend (VA); Heath Crowe 
(LA);

[[Page 73403]]

Richard Degnan (AZ); Peter Della Rocco (PA); Edward Jacobs (VA); 
Domenick Panfile (NJ); Scott Reaves (TX); Milton Tatham (NV); Thomas 
Tincher (NC); and Duane Troff (MN) from the prohibition of CMV 
operations by persons with a clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or 
seizures. If the exemption is still in effect at the end of the 2-year 
period, the person may apply to FMCSA for a renewal under procedures in 
effect at that time.

    Issued on: December 1, 2014.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2014-28953 Filed 12-9-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P